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Fantasy preview: Ranking the top 25 wide receivers in 2012

RANK PLAYER COMMENTS
WR1 Calvin Johnson, DET Madden cover guy is the game’s best receiver, and it’s not close right now. A healthy ’12 equals 1,500 yards and 12 TD’s, easy.
WR2 A.J. Green, CIN Receiver position is deep and crowded this season, but the ceiling for Green is higher than most – his rookie season was a small sign of things to come.
WR3 Andre Johnson, HOU Injuries have frustrated fantasy owners over the years, and as hard as it is to believe, Johnson has never posted a 10 TD season.
WR4 Julio Jones, ATL Another second-year receiver whose ceiling seems to have no limit. Roddy White’s presence may actually help Jones lead the league in explosive plays.
WR5 Larry Fitzgerald, ARI Outside Megatron, Fitz is the best WR in the game – but when your QB options are Kolb and Skelton…hey, he can’t throw and catch.
WR6 Roddy White, ATL This may be the season White passes the torch to young Julio, but from a fantasy perspective, he’s still an elite WR1.
WR7 Brandon Marshall, CHI The Cutler-Marshall Mile High magic from Denver is already on display in the Windy City. Marshall = new Monster of the Midway.
WR8 Greg Jennings, GB Rodgers has weapons on weapons, but Jennings should eat first. August concussion shouldn’t linger into the regular season.
WR9 Mike Wallace, PIT Rumblings indicate Wallace should be back with his teammates shortly. With a depleted running game, pass-happy Todd Haley will be calling plenty of plays for #17.
WR10 Hakeem Nicks, NYG Eli’s top target should be ready to roll for Week 1. I think we see more Nicks for six than salsa dancing in ’12 – but not by much.
WR11 Jordy Nelson, GB 15 TD’s last season! But there may be stretches where you wonder “Where’s Jordy?” For that reason, he’s an elite WR2/fringe WR1.
WR12 Victor Cruz, NYG Cruz is the real deal and will be a fantasy force this season. But similar to Nelson in GB, you may have to live through a season of ‘boom or bust’ moments.
WR13 Dez Bryant, DAL Combination of injuries, off-the-field issues has plagued a WR w/ way too much talent not to be a game-changer. This needs to be the season Dez shows his dominance.
WR14 Percy Harvin, MIN A lot of questions on the Viking offense, but one thing is certain: Percy is the #1 option in the passing game…and they’ll be playing from behind quite a bit this season.
WR15 Wes Welker, NE How many balls are there to go around in New England? Welker will get his, but it probably won’t be at the clip it was in ’12.
WR16 Brandon Lloyd, NE When the Pats went 16-0 in ’07, there was a guy named Randy Moss that took the top off the defense…I’m just saying.
WR17 Damaryius Thomas, DEN Peyton plans to lean heavily on Thomas and Eric Decker this season. Will the physically superior Thomas answer the bell?
WR18 Miles Austin, DAL If Austin can’t get his hamstrings right, it could be a long season in Big D. Worth a late WR2 flyer, especially w/ Witten’s status in the air.
WR19 Steve Smith, CAR Clicked from the beginning w/ Cam last season, but offense still features three capable RB’s, solid TE and emerging young WR.
WR20 Marques Colston, NO Colston’s injury history is well documented, but if healthy, he may get a few more balls thrown his way to make up for the loss of Robert Meachem.
WR21 Dwayne Bowe, KC Signed and ready to go, but new offense comes w/ questions. Two headed monster at RB (Charles, Hillis) may take top billing.
WR22 Vincent Jackson, TB Jackson disappeared at times w/ a more explosive offense in San Diego. Potential to put up fringe WR1 numbers is there, but I wouldn’t target him until 6th, 7th round.
WR23 Stevie Johnson, BUF Bills are powered by Fred Jackson, but after getting paid this off-season, Johnson will be counted on to lead the passing game. As for your fantasy team? Perfect WR3.
WR24 DeSean Jackson, PHI Doesn’t catch a lot of balls, so it’s hard to rely on consistent production. That said, explosive play ability makes him worth a fantasy roster spot – at the right price, of course.
WR25 Torrey Smith, BAL Potential sleeper of ’12. If the Ravens are going to let Flacco fling it this season, Smith is worth a later pick. Could pay-off in a big way for your fantasy squad.

Fantasy preview: Ranking the top 25 running backs in 2012

RANK PLAYER COMMENTS
RB1 Ray Rice, BAL Rice will look to build on over 2,000 total yards and 15 TD’s in ’11 after finally breaking free of a time-share w/ Willis McGahee last season. My bet for fantasy’s top RB in ’12.
RB2 LeSean McCoy, PHI Philly’s workhorse totaled 20 TD’s in ’11. Andy Reid may try to conserve Shady’s legs when possible, but probably won’t have a choice but to let him do his thing.
RB3 Arian Foster, HOU Could easily be fantasy’s best, but injury concerns and a reliable back-up like Ben Tate looming makes me think twice about selecting #1 overall.
RB4 Chris Johnson, TEN Don’t let his underwhelming start last season scare you. With a full training camp, he’ll be back to his Pro Bowl form.
RB5 Ryan Mathews, SD Time for Mathews to earn his keep. With no Mike Tolbert to vulcher carries, the spotlight will be shining brightly on the third-year back.
RB6 Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX Contract is a big problem right now – we’ve seen players who miss camp struggle out of the gates (see CJ2K in ’11). Monitor.
RB7 Adrian Peterson, MIN If All Day’s ACL is really all the way healed, and it sure looks like it is, he could be a 2nd round steal.
RB8 Matt Forte, CHI Now that contract drama is finally behind him, Forte can focus solely on football. Addition of Michael Bush will keep Forte fresh down the stretch, when you need him most.
RB9 Darren McFadden, OAK If McFadden wasn’t so injury prone, this ranking would look like a joke. I’m in the camp that says risk is well worth what could be a game-changing reward.
RB10 DeMarco Murray, DAL Turned heads last season and has a stranglehold on the starting position, plus explosive passing game equals bigger holes to run through.
RB11 Jamaal Charles, KC Another elite runner coming off of an ACL – bright side for Charles is that injury occurred at the beginning on ’11, meaning more time to heal.
RB12 Marshawn Lynch, SEA Beast Mode can’t seem to keep his name out of the police blotter. If he can avoid the swift hand of the Commish, Lynch should star on your fantasy team.
RB13 Trent Richardson, CLE Not your average rookie. Cleveland will ride Richardson as far as he’ll take them – a real potential to put up RB1 numbers.
RB14 Fred Jackson, BUF Looked like an MVP candidate during stretches of last season.
RB15 Steven Jackson, STL Durability hasn’t been the issue of late, rather just a lack of talent around him. Expect new HC Fisher to lean on S-Jax all season long.
RB16 Frank Gore, SF Has competed at a high level for so many years in this league, but the backfield is as crowded as it gets (Hunter, Jacobs, James).
RB17 Michael Turner, ATL Age coupled w/ emergence of passing game in ATL means Burner may not boast the numbers we’ve been used to seeing in past seasons.
RB18 Darren Sproles, NO The Saints run the football less than most, but Sproles’ duel threat value makes him a legit RB2 in any fantasy format.
RB19 Willis McGahee, DEN McGahee’s resurgence in Denver last season is expected to continue now that a certified gunslinger is under center.
RB20 Reggie Bush, MIA Ended ’11 looking like one of the NFL’s best. Despite uncertainty at the QB position, Bush is a nice RB2 w/ upside.
RB21 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN The Law Firm steps into a featured role and should thrive behind Cincy’s solid o-line. Also, dude never fumbles.
RB22 Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG Rookie David Wilson may steal some carries, but Bradshaw should find some running lanes w/ the 15-20 touches he does get. Only notched one 100-yard game in ’11.
RB23 Doug Martin, TB Rookie has a shot to put up RB1 numbers, but monitor potential time-share w/ Blount.
RB24 Shonn Greene, NYJ Has disappointed fantasy owners for two seasons and may find it tough sledding this season w/ anemic passing game.
RB25 Jonathan Stewart, CAR Tremendous talent, but injury concerns and crowded backfield may make you think twice about where you draft him.

Nickel Coverage Podcast: Fantasy QB’s

A quick-hit breakdown of BumpAndRun.com’s top five fantasy quarterbacks, including pros and cons and when to target in your upcoming fantasy drafts. PRESS PLAY!

Fantasy preview: Ranking the top 25 quarterbacks in 2012

RANK PLAYER COMMENTS
QB1 Aaron Rodgers, GB I would have no problem with Rodgers being drafted #1 overall – just coming close to his 45 TD, 6 INT clinic in ’11 would be a win.
QB2 Tom Brady, NE Tom Terrific has shiny new toys in his arsenal (Lloyd, Gaffney) to go with his ’11 weapons of choice (Welker, Gronk, Hernandez).
QB3 Drew Brees, NO NFL’s new passing king will have to go at it in ’12 without his head coach, but on-field offensive cast remains unchanged, aside Meachem.
QB4 Matthew Stafford, DET Riddled by injuries in his first two seasons, Stafford’s banner year in ’11 should carry over in ’12 for your fantasy team.
QB5 Cam Newton, CAR Best rookie QB season EVER means ridiculous expectations in second year. Will probably be the most over drafted player in ’12.
QB6 Tony Romo, DAL Forget winning a Super Bowl, Romo has the weapons (Bryant, Austin, Witten) and track record to help your fantasy team to a title.
QB7 Michael Vick, PHI Hard not to think of the possibilities if Vick can stay healthy. Yes, you know that string of ’10 fantasy performances still dance in your head.
QB8 Eli Manning, NYG A two-time SB champion flying under the radar in his own division. Nicks, Cruz and Randle could help propel Eli over NFC East counterparts.
QB9 Peyton Manning, DEN Before ’11, big brother Manning was the definition of a sure thing. If neck holds up, no reason to think he won’t be elite.
QB10 Philip Rivers, SD Losing Vincent Jackson stings, but a healthy Gates and acquisitions of Meachem and Royal are enough to maintain Rivers’ top 10 status.
QB11 Matt Ryan, ATL Two dynamic receivers (White, Jones) coupled with declining desire to run the football could mean a monster fantasy season for Matty Ice.
QB12 Jay Cutler, CHI Reunited with Jeremy Bates and B. Marshall, Cutler may finally have the impact Bears fans and fantasy owners expected two seasons ago.
QB13 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT Big Ben lost his starting RB, has a new OC and isn’t sure if/when his top target will report to the team. Uncertainty surrounds Steel City.
QB14 Matt Schaub, HOU Crushed fantasy owners with a season-ending injury in ’11, and his #1 WR can’t consistently stay on the field. Proceed with caution.
QB15 Joe Flacco, BAL Joe Cool needs to build upon chemistry with deep threat Torrey Smith. A solid QB2 playing for a long-term contract.
QB16 Robert Griffin III, WAS Expectations are insane without taking an NFL snap. We may be talking fantasy gold in ’13, but be careful where you select him in ’12.
QB17 Josh Freeman, TB He lost a ton of weight, has a legitimate #1 WR and a new coaching staff. Still, can’t be thought of more than an OK QB2 at this point.
QB18 Andy Dalton, CIN Looking to build on a successful rookie campaign. Will connect with stud WR A.J. Green enough to be considered a viable fantasy back-up.
QB19 Alex Smith, SF We know about Vernon Davis, but acquisitions of Moss and Manningham could propel Smith to fantasy relevance.
QB20 Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF Started ’11 on fire, but fell off in large part due to a rib injury. A potential late-round sleeper, but nothing more than a fringe QB2.
QB21 Matt Flynn, SEA First has to stave off Jackson and rookie Wilson for the starting job, then we can legitimately talk fantasy value.
QB22 Carson Palmer, OAK After working out the kinks last season, the pressure will squarely be on Palmer to live up to the ridiculous package of picks given to Cincy.
QB23 Sam Bradford, STL Bradford has to prove himself all over again with a new coaching staff. Not sure there are enough weapons to make a true fantasy impact.
QB24 Mark Sanchez, NYJ With Tebowmania lurking, the heat is on Sanchez to perform. A lack of playmaking ability outside of Holmes may be his downfall.
QB25 Andrew Luck, IND Luck will be one of fantasy’s best in due time, but until then he will have to find his way with little established talent around him.

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